Motor vehicle collisions occur every day at all kinds of locations for a variety of different reasons. Drivers simply never know when a crash might occur, so it is best to prepare ahead of time for the possibility.
For example, all drivers should know what kind(s) of insurance coverage they carry and they should keep a first aid kit in their vehicle at all times. Having a checklist of the steps they’ll need to take in the event of a crash can also be useful. There are also certain things that a driver should not do, as well as things that they should not say after a crash.
How a driver communicates with others can influence what ends up in a police report and also what compensation the driver can seek. What should drivers avoid saying to others after a major car crash?
1. “I’m sorry.”
The most common mistake that people make after a crash is the choice to apologize to other people. An apology to the other driver, the police officer taking the report or an insurance adjuster might seem like an admission of responsibility and could lead to the dismissal of a claim. Apologizing after a crash is too similar to admitting fault and is therefore something people should avoid.
2. “Sure, we can handle this without the insurance company.”
A driver who has a warrant out for their arrest, a suspended driver’s license or an inactive insurance policy on their vehicle might try to convince the other people involved in a crash to handle the issue directly without reporting it to the police or involving the insurance companies.
It seems like a compassionate and common-sense response, but it puts the person who didn’t cause the crash at a major disadvantage. If the party responsible doesn’t follow through with their promise to pay for hospital bills or vehicle repairs, the person affected could have a much harder time getting compensation from an insurance company or pursuing a civil lawsuit.
3. “That settlement is low but acceptable.”
A surprising number of people with undrivable vehicles and serious personal injuries just accept the initial low settlement offer made by the insurance company.
They know when they review the settlement offer that it won’t pay all of their expenses, but they tell themselves that it’s good enough because they don’t want to deal with a lengthy claim. Figuring out how much a crash will actually cost and then pushing for the right amount of compensation is a key step for those not at fault for a recent car wreck.
Avoiding common mistakes and seeking legal guidance can make it easier for people to demand financial justice after a motor vehicle collision.